Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Maynard dies at 86

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  • Don Maynard
    Professional American Football Player

Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Don Maynard died Monday at the age of 86.

Maynard played for the New York Jets and was Joe Namath’s favorite target. He was a member of the Super Bowl III champions.

Maynard was also on the other side of a game in football history. He played for the New York Giants in the famous 1958 NFL championship that saw the Baltimore Colts win in overtime, 23-17.

He played mostly on special teams and was the first player to touch the ball, on a kick return, to start the famous overtime period of “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

In the 1968 AFL Championship Game, Maynard caught six passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns – the game’s first and last scoring plays in a 27-23 victory over the Raiders. Shortly before the winning reception, Maynard hauled in a 52-yard, wind-altered bomb from Namath.

Maynard called it “the greatest catch I ever made.”

In the Super Bowl, Maynard did not make a catch due to a hamstring injury. However, his presence on the field served as a decoy that attracted attention from the Colts.

When he retired in 1973 after one season with the St. Louis Cardinals, he was pro football’s career receiving leader with 633 catches for 11,834 yards and 88 touchdowns. In 1987, he was elected to the Hall of Fame.

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